Boxing requires strength throughout the entire body, especially in the legs. Leg and lower body strength are crucial to boxing physicality. You need a strong, sturdy base from which to generate power and launch your combinations. At the same time, you need lower body muscle endurance to help you move gracefully across the ring while managing energy levels.
As such, it’s imperative that as a boxer, you are consistently training your lower body every single day. This goes beyond just running and jogging, the usual jumping rope, and boxing movement drills. You must also place great emphasis on specific strength training exercises for your lower body.
If you’re serious about becoming the best possible boxer you can be, you have to pay extra attention to improving your lower body. Building functional strength and developing muscle endurance are keys to gaining the ability to use your legs to supplement your fighting style.
We’ve compiled a handful of incredible lower body strength exercises that are tailor-made for boxing, and will help you achieve prime fitness. Let’s take a quick look at a few of them you should try the next time you’re in the gym.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five exercises to strengthen your lower body for boxing.
1) Air Squat
Strengthening the lower body starts and ends with the air squat. While it primarily focuses on the glutes, the air squat stimulates the majority of the muscles in the lower body and the core, which is essential in boxing, especially when generating power is concerned. This workout should be part of all your fitness regimens. They are simple enough for anyone to pick up and perform instantly without any equipment. Here’s how to perform an air squat:
- First, position your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your chest up, facing forward and back straight.
- In a smooth and controlled motion, slowly drop your hips while bending your knees, lowering your center of gravity.
- Ensure that while doing this your core should be tight and engaged. Slowly and smoothly rise again, raising your hips and straightening your legs, and repeat.
Repeat this motion 20 times per set. You want to target doing four sets or more as you build strength.
2) Standard Deadlift
If air squats represent the most basic lower body strengthening exercises, the humble deadlift represents the most intense. While you’re dipping your torso left and right throwing feints, uppercuts, and body shots, having a strong lower back and core will allow you to execute combos with power and grace. This is what the deadlift develops; the stability in your torso, providing you with ample support for your upper body. Do take note that this exercise requires a heavily weighted bar for you to lift off the ground. Here’s how to perform a standard deadlift:
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring the middle of both your feet is directly beneath the bar.
- Next, bend over the waist reaching out to the bar, keeping your back straight, inhaling deeply at the same time lifting the weighted bar until you’re standing straight.
- Once you’ve fully extended, hold for one second and slowly lower the bar down to the ground, keeping your arms straight and your elbows locked during the whole process.
It’s important to not lift too heavy when starting. Always start with a weight that you can do at least 12 reps with. Do this until you have mastered proper technique and form before adding any additional weights.
3) Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat focuses on training one leg at a time, engaging your core, and improving your balance at the same time. It’s a great way to train your tensors in your thighs, while stimulating the core stabilizers in your midsection. While having the lower body strength to maintain great balance is important in boxing, it’s equally important to have strength in each leg, to allow you to move explosively and swiftly around the ring. This exercise would require a chair, bench, or elevated platform. Here’s how to perform the Bulgarian split squat:
- Start off positioning your feet hip-distance apart with a chair or small bench to use as a platform. Lift your left foot and place the edge of your toes on the platform. Try to keep yourself balanced during the process.
- Next, slowly bend your support leg at the knee and lower your body into a single-leg lunge, take note that your back should remain straight, as you lower your waist to knee level while maintaining the center of gravity.
- Lift your waist and straighten your support leg back into the starting position to complete the rep. Do this at least 15 to 20 times per leg, and do three sets of each.
Tip: Lift the opposite hand of your support leg for more balance when you’re starting to balance out your body weight. Once you’ve built enough leg strength, try performing this exercise by holding dumbells to further enhance this workout.
4) Heisman Jumps
Like the Bulgarian split squat, Heisman jumps trains explosiveness in each leg. Heisman jumps are also great for warming up, as it helps get your heart rate up and body moving. As boxing features a unique pace and flow of movement, especially with the lower body, developing explosiveness in each leg is essential to move across the ring graciously. You don’t want to be flat-footed in the ring. You want to be faster than your opponents and commanding with your footwork. Here’s how to perform the Heisman jumps:
- Start with your feet positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Once you’re ready, jump off onto your right foot, lifting your left knee towards the right just until it reaches your waist.
- Next, lower your left foot back down, performing the same movement with your right knee, jumping slightly off the ground. Don’t wait for your left foot to hit the ground before you bring the right foot up. Repeat this continuously for a good two to three minutes.
5) High Knees
The high knees help build strength and endurance in your legs, working your core at the same time. Similar to the Heisman jumps, high knees will help to develop explosive movements in each leg. The objective of this workout is to bring each knee up as high as possible. Here’s how to perform the high knees:
- Start out standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bring your right knee up toward your chest, and as you bring your right foot back down, hop slightly on your left foot, and bring your left knee up toward your chest.
- Alternate back and forth, as if you were jogging.
- The key is to bring your knees up as high as you can, hence the name, “high knees.”
Tip: You can also alternate your arm position, much like you would if you were running in place, or place your arms just above your waist, acting as a marker for your knees. This helps to keep your body balanced and stable.
If you enjoyed this article, we recommend reading the following: